The Coast Guard interdicted 27 Cuban migrants Saturday approximately 5 miles south of Key West.
A Coast Guard Station Key West 45-foot Response Boat—Medium boatcrew interdicted an 18-foot migrant chug with 27 Cuban migrants, 22 males, four females and one child, aboard. The crew safely embarked all 27 migrants aboard the station boat.
“These illegal ventures attempting to immigrate to the United States are extremely dangerous, especially during the hurricane season when weather and sea conditions can dramatically and rapidly change in minutes putting migrants in danger of being lost at sea,” said Capt. Jason Ryan, chief of enforcement branch of the Coast Guard 7th District. “The Coast Guard and our partner agencies’ first priority is safety of life at sea and these voyages in ill-equipped vessels aren’t safe. The Coast Guard and our partner agencies maintain their focused and coordinated efforts to interdict and stop these unlawful migration attempts in to the United States. Migrants caught attempting to gain access into the U.S. through these dangerously illegal undertakings at-sea will be will be repatriated to their country in accordance with existing U.S. immigration policy.”
The watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Key West were notified by a good Samaritan vessel of a possible migrant vessel stating they overheard people speaking, but couldn’t see any vessel or people. The watchstanders directed the launch of a Station Key West RB—M boatcrew and diverted the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Kathleen Moore (WPC-1109) to assist.
The station crew rendezvoused with the cutter Kathleen Moore and safely transferred the migrants to the cutter.
Approximately 438 Cuban migrants have attempted to illegally enter the U.S. via the maritime environment in fiscal year 2019 compared to 384 Cuban migrants in fiscal year 2018. These numbers represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean, and Atlantic.
Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter, and basic medical attention.